Tuya’s Marriage (2007)

January 19th, 2012
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director: Quanan Wang

Starring: Nan Yu, Bater, Sen’ge, Zhaya

86 mins 

Mongolian shepherdess Tuya (Nan Yu) is forced to consider divorce when her husband is no longer able to support the family in this cute but quirky comedy that won the Golden Bear in Berlin.

It’s not that she doesn’t love her husband Bater.  In Mongolia marriage is a business deal and with two kids and a herd of sheep to tend she needs physical support to carry on. But Tuya actually loves Bater.

Tuya is not short of proposals and several dodgy candidates beat a path to her smallholding. But it’s her neighbour Sen’ge who’s really got his heart set on her and is determined to succeed despite nearly killing himself in the process.

Against the feral beauty and stillness of the Mongolian Steppes, Tuya’s daily grind to keep the herd and put a meal on the table is a harsh and often dangerous one but it is not without its own weird and often tragic brand of humour, intended or otherwise.  The vibrant colours of Lutz Reitemaier cinematography and genuine warmth and single-mindedness of these people desperately holding out against the advance of technology is what ultimately makes this film a winner.

Meredith Taylor ©

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